Lynch determined to take victory away from Heisman in New York


Quarterback Jordan Lynch (6) outflanks the Toledo defense and runs the ball downfield during Wednesday night’s game. NIU won, 35-17.

By Steve Shonder

Quarterback Jordan Lynch’s nomination for the Heisman puts a cap on one of the best seasons  any college football player has had.

He’s the MAC’s first Heisman finalist since Chad Pennington of Marshall University in 1999 and just the third overall. He’s already in a group of only five players in FBS history to have 20 passing touchdowns and 20 rushing touchdowns in the same season. If he does win the Heisman, he’ll be the fourth member of that group to win.

Lynch is just one of six Heisman finalists this year. He has an uphill battle against Florida State’s Jameis Winston, the presumed frontrunner. Winston’s off-field issues could take votes away from him. While it’s certainly an honor for Lynch to just be invited to the ceremony, he isn’t satisfied with only the invite.

“I was happy getting the invite, but I’m going there to win,” Lynch said. “I’m not going there to come in last place or second place.”

NIU was the only school to offer Lynch a scholarship at the quarterback position. It’s a move that has paid dividends for the program.

Head coach Rod Carey said he knew what a great quarterback and leader Lynch would be after a bad first practice in 2012 where Lynch motivated the offense to do better.

“We knew Jordan was going to be really good,” Carey said. “His body of work this year speaks for itself. I love his attitude about teammates. He deserves to be out there.”

The finalist news came at a good time for the Huskies, who are coming off their first loss of the season to Bowling Green in the MAC Championship game. They were certainly in need of a boost heading into their matchup with Utah State in the Poinsettia Bowl. If Lynch actually wins the award, he’ll likely credit it to the team’s performance this season. He admitted that having a running back like Cameron Stingily certainly helped.

“It’s just not me that did it all; it’s my teammates and coaches,” Lynch said. “Having a 1,000-yard rusher [Stingily] behind you, they’re not always going to key on you. They can’t. They’re going to have to key in on Cam Stingily.”

It’s a testament to Lynch’s play throughout the year that he was still invited to the ceremony after the loss to Bowling Green. Players from non-automatic qualifying conference like the MAC often have to maintain perfect seasons in order to even be acknowledged in year-end awards. It’s clear that Lynch’s record setting season was good enough on its own, but Lynch would rather have won the MAC Championship.

“I thought one of the biggest reasons I felt like I was getting a lot of publicity with the Heisman was because we’re undefeated,” Lynch said. “I’d take the MAC Championship in a heartbeat over this whole Heisman thing.”